By Kristi Astor
My name is Kristina, and I am a Twilight Mom. Yes, it’s true. I admit it. I hang out on the Twilight Moms message board, went to a Breaking Dawn midnight party, and stayed up all night reading it, the last book in the series (and yes, I was horribly disappointed—I would say it was easily the biggest literary disappointment of my life). I pre-ordered movie tickets for the Twilight movie weeks ago, and saw the first showing this morning (in a totally full theater, I might add!), release day.
But before I review the movie, let me go back to the very beginning of my Twilight obsession. I discovered the book the month it was released, as I was walking through a bookstore headed toward the romance section. I passed a shelf that, in retrospect, must’ve been in the YA section, and the cover immediately caught my eye. So I picked it up, turned it over, and read the back blurb—only three or four sentences, but enough to hook me. So I bought it. I started reading it that night, and ended up staying up half the night finishing it.
I feel personally responsible for starting some of the word-of-mouth buzz, because I told everyone I knew that they had to read it, even if they didn’t read YA books, even if they didn’t normally like vampire books. I got my friends hooked, my family hooked, and this was all before it became the international sensation that it is now.
So…the movie. Suffice it to say that I’ve been eagerly awaiting it for a long, long time. There’s just nothing better than seeing a favorite book turned into an excellent film, the familiar characters brought to life in full Technicolor glory. But then again, there’s nothing worse than seeing a favorite book turned into a horrible film, one that makes you wince to watch it.
For me, the Twilight movie fell somewhere in between. First, the pros: the locations were gorgeous. Stephenie Meyer did well in choosing to set the book in the Pacific Northwest, because the scenery was simply stunning, and, for the most part, looked exactly as I envisioned it. I thought the casting was mostly great, too. Kristen Stewart simply was Bella, exactly as I imagined her in my mind. I thought she captured the character perfectly. I also thought Rob Pattinson did an amazing job. His Edward was the perfect mix of confidence and self-loathing, and frankly he’s just so stunning that I found it hard not to gape when he was onscreen. Billy Burke, playing Bella’s dad Charlie, was also perfectly cast.
For the most part, I enjoyed the Forks High teenagers, all well-cast and well-acted, and the same with the Cullen clan, but particularly Rosalie, Emmett, and Esme (Jasper was the weak link, in my opinion—he actually got some laughs from the audience when they probably weren’t supposed to be laughing). As to the bad vampires, I thought Victoria was perfect, Laurent was satisfactory, but James was too over-the-top and cheesy.
I also thought they did a really good job of staying mostly true to the book, although they took some liberties condensing some scenes and changing when and where some conversations took place. But mostly it did feel as if the book had come to life.
Now the cons: the make up was horrible. I mean, c’mon, we know they’re vampires—just a little bit of pale face powder would have sufficed, rather than the shovelful of white pancake makeup it looked like the Cullens were wearing. Rob Pattinson is gorgeous enough on his own—the eyeliner and lipstick just looked overdone and silly. The makeup looked particularly bad on Peter Facinelli, playing Dr. Carlisle Cullen. Also, there were a couple of close-ups of the vampires’ eyes, particularly Edward’s, where I could clearly see the contact lens on his eye.Seems like a little editing work could have removed the tell-tale ring. And the wig on the actor playing Jacob Black looked ridiculous—I wish they’d spent a little more money on it.
Also bad were the special effects. I realize this was an independent film, fairly low-budget, and you can only do so much, effects-wise, without a big budget. After all, we as an audience are spoiled, effects-wise, in a post-WETA, post-“Lord of the Rings” world. But the effects were definitely hokey and cheesy. And the meadow scene….well, I won’t spoil it for you, but just let me say that I was disappointed. Really disappointed. I now wish that vampires didn’t sparkle.
Lastly, there was a little more angst than there was in the book. I remember some funny, light moments between Bella and Edward in the book, some playfulness. But in the movie, it was all angst, all the time. For someone who hasn’t read the books, you might come away wondering how the pair goes from first meet to “You are my life now,” because they don’t quite get to see the development of their relationship in the movie (of course, some critics of the book will say that there isn’t much of that in the book, either, but I respectfully disagree).
All in all, I enjoyed it. I’d probably give it a B, maybe a B+, though the plus mainly comes from my enjoyment of the original source material rather than the movie itself, and because it was pretty pleasant just to stare at Rob Pattinson on the big screen for two hours, bad makeup and all. I saw it with a friend, though—also a fan of the books (minus the train wreck that was Breaking Dawn, of course)—and she didn’t like it as much as I did. Her biggest criticism was wooden acting, and, and like me, she was really put off by the bad makeup and special effects.
So…anyone else see the movie already? If so, how would you grade it?
Order Kristi’s books:
Lords of Desire
I’ve not seen it yet but SOOO want to :)
I haven’t seen it yet. I’ll wait for it on DVD. It’s received unfavorable reviews.
Well, right now the tomato-meter at Rotten Tomatoes is showing it at 43%–so, 43% of the reviews are positive (Rotten Tomatoes is a review aggregator–and one of my favorite websites! They basically compile reviews from every major news/online source). Anyway, there’s a surprising amount of good reviews, mixed with the bad.
You can read them all here:
I should probably wait to comment until I’ve seen the movie (which I’ll be doing tonight). I’m looking forward to seeing it, but I don’t have high hopes. Then they will just be smooshed.
Thanks for the review Kristi! I usually prefer the books over the movies… :-)
I haven’t seen the movie yet… I’m waiting a few weeks… i hate crowds… so me going into a crowded theater would be a bad idea… so im gonna have to be patient and wait… ya… i can do that… i think… :???:
Haven’t seen it yet, debating still.
I’m with you, Donna–the makeup was probably what bothered me the most, too. Even more than the special effects.
The friend who I saw it with kept saying that they’d made Rob look like a drag queen, LOL! I didn’t think it was *that* bad.
I took my daughter out of school early yesterday to see the first showing. She read the book and hated the movie. I did not read the book (I tried, but couldn’t get past the first few pages. First person is just not my thing) and I liked the movie more than I thought I would. Sure, the effects were after school special quality, the makeup was over the top and the acting wasn’t that great, but it was entertaining.
The negatives, IMHO…it could have used a dose of heavy duty editing. At least a good twenty minutes of them staring at each other could have been hacked away. I kept waiting for something to happen! :-) And I completely agree with your comment about their relationship light-speeding ahead from distain to love…would have been nice to see her make him laugh, or at least quit leering at her – I mean, he actually creeped me out a few times!
Oh, and at times, I needed some crackers to go with the cheesy dialogue. When I find myself literally rolling my eyes and forcing my finger back from gagging down my throat, it’s never a good thing. I realize they were trying to use some of the lines from the book, but they just didn’t flow and frankly a couple (like the lion falls in love with the lamb one) the actors didn’t look comfortable delivering.
All in all, I enjoyed Twilight. I’m glad I took my daugher, glad I saw it and will probably buy the DVD when it comes out.
I mean, if I bought The Lost Boys 2… lol!
Thanks for the review, Kristi! I’ll wait awhile before I go see it.
Still undecided about seeing it.
Meagan–regarding the Lion and the Lamb line….I totally agree–it came off as pretty cheesy and sort of painfully delivered, which is weird because I loved that line in the book! It’s kind of interesting how some dialogue totally works in a book, but falls flat in a movie. I was kind of disappointed that one didn’t work in the movie, again, because I thought it so poignant in the book (probably because in the book it really *did* seems as if they were in love at that point, whereas it sort of came out of left field in the movie.
Conversely, some of the movie’s best lines were totally made up, and not in the book at all (my personal favorite: “I had an adrenaline rush. It’s really common. You can Google it.”).
It’ll be interesting to see how some of favorite lines from the subsequent books translate to film.
I am going to see that this weekend with my daughter. She is coming upfrom Virginia for Thanksgiving
I’m waiting until the crowds die down. For those of you who have already seen it, any comments on the demographic makeup of the audience? Was it mostly teenagers, mostly female, or a mix of all ages and genders? I’m a little nervous about sitting near a bunch of giggling teenagers, so I might wait to go to a weekday matinee, while they are hopefully in school.
I was supposed to see it today, but my friend has something to do so I don’t get to see it ’til tomorrow. :(
havnt yet, waiting till there aint a long line
I actually preferred the book to the movie. In the theater I was in , the audience was mostly female – half teenagers and half adults.
I wasn’t surprised that the movie couldn’t live up to the book. The book is all about Bella’s day-to-day feelings about Edward and the extraordinary situation she finds herself in. If they actually just filmed that, it would be even more boring than the movie already was. I’d tell fans of the series to stick with the books and take a pass on the movie. I blogged about it a little bit: http://paranormalityuniverse.blogspot.com
I haven’t seen the movie yet and I’m not sure I’m going to. I haven’t read Twilight and doubt I will, even though I love vampires. I’m a bit apprehensive about the ending since everyone seems so disappointed with it – much the same as a lot of the HP fans were a bit disappointed with the Epilogue at the end of the last HP book.
I have not seen the movie yet but plan on going. I’m a twilight mom as well and loved the books.
I want to see the movie after things settle down. I too am a Twilight Mom and I don’t want to miss out on anything while watching it in a packed house with screaming, giggling girls. No offense to any of those. I used to be one. LOL
I saw the movie and felt disappointed… they left so much out… and what was with the speed thing? I hope new moon is better.
I saw the movie already and thought the book much better.
I have not read the books yet, but after seeing the movie I will be pulling them out of my enormous tbr pile.
Mysister in law really wanted to see it as did my 11 year old daughter. I reluctantly agreed to go and dragged my sister along…who does not like vampires at all. I was surprised by how much I actually liked it, because the commercials were somewhat off putting for me…I think that it was the over the top makeup. I would give it a B at least. My daughter has now decided that it is her favorite movie and she wants to start reading the books…for a parent who has not read them…do you think that they are too old for an 11 year old?
ok. I have seen it 9 times now. I absolutley loved it flaws and all.
Here is how I got hooked. I read it when a student at the college I teach at drug me to the signing of New Moon. I had to read it. I loved Twilight hated new moon except when Edward was there. I went to another book signing for Eclispse and fell in love with Stephenie and her girl next door personality. Well I arranged a huge book relaese party – pics are on Stephenies site and me and 5 of my student got the first 10 seats in the first row of her Chicago concert. We live in KY and fundraised all the money to go. When she expalined about the movie and her future projects I could see the subjects from her vision- I knew the movie would be different.
I went in to the movie the moment it was realesed with the attitude that it is a movie for teens not a 30 something like me. With that in mind I could see how any 15 yo girl could fall in love with Edward. I have to admit I wish I was younger sometimes.
But I agree with the makeup -too much, loved the music and scenery. Alice is my fav and wished she was in it more. Loved the resuce see in Port Angeles, the baseball scene and her visiting the Cullens for the first time.
I knew that they budget they were given was ridiculously low and also know- all books are better than any movie.
But loved Robert as Edward… Kristen wasn’t what I wanted as far as being too weak.
But as evidence shows I loved and and am going to keep seeing it until it’s gone and can’t wait for the DVD.
Oh New Moon is slatted for 2010.
Went to see it just this past Friday and loved it! I like the movie better than the book as it was dry and the movie had more emotion and Edward draws you in! I agree the movie was well casted, Alice had a wicked curve ball.
Haven’t seen Twilight yet but my niece just decided that my sister, her & myself HAVE to go see it SOON!!!